The 2017 Cardiff University / Cardiff Half Marathon welcomed a record 19,500 runners to compete in the Welsh Capital on Sunday.
The horrendous weather conditions that were promised never materialised making for a very succesfull day of road racing at the IAAF Silver Label race.
The start of the 2017 Cardiff University / Cardiff Half Marathon
Edith Chelimo of Kenya began as a big favourite in the women's race following the withdrawal of Bahrain's Violah Jepchumba.
Chelimo covered the first 5km in 15:14, slowing slightly to cover 10km in 30:56. The Kenyan athlete was joined for most of the race by Wales' Josh Griffiths and Charlie Hulson and by Irish marathoner Mick Clohisey.
Chelimo won in 1:05:52 which smashed Mary Keitany's UK-all comers record from the 2009 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham of 1:06:36
Her time also makes her the sixth fastest female athlete of all time for the distance.
Edith Chelimo taking victory
Dorcus Kimeli (Kenya) was second in 1:10:50 with fellow Kenyan Beatrice Mutai third in 1:10:57.
Eithiopian Athlete Zeineba Yimer also finish in under 72 minutes, posting 1:11:31.
Jenny Nesbitt (Worcester AC) was the first Welsh athlete in fifth place overall. She was crowned Welsh Champion ahead of Silver medalist Caryl Jones (Swansea Harriers) and club mate Elinor Kirk Who took Bronze.
Jenny Nesbitt (middle) with Caryl Jones (right)
The men's race was a more open affair with possibly the strongest road race field assembled on Welsh soil outside of the IAAF World Championships from March 2016.
Amongst the favourites were defending Champion Shadrack Kimining, 2.05 marathoner and 2015 Berlin Marathon runner up, Eliud Kiptanui (Kenya) and Commonwealth Games 10,000m Silver medalist Josphat Bett (Kenya).
A group of four athletes passed 10km in 28:28. Hiskel Tewelde (Eritrea) was the first to loose touch with Kenyan trio John Lotiang, Shadrack Kimining (Kenya) and Kipkemoi Kiprono (Kenya).
Wales had been hoping for a sub 60 clocking and waiting crowds watched the big screen at the finish area as Welshman Dewi Griffiths (Swansea Harriers) started to close the gap on Tewelde in fourth place.
The Swansea Harrier commented after the race, telling the BBC; ''I’m over the moon. I knew I was in great shape, I’ve ran PBs over the last couple of weeks and it’s another one today. I knew I was in PB shape but it was just a case of how much it was''.
Dewi Griffiths in superb form on Sunday
When John Lotiang turned on to the home straight however it was clear that he would win with a new course record but agonisingly outide the hour mark.
Lotiang stopped the clock in 1:00:42 with Kimining also ahead of his 2016 mark in 1:00:49. The relatively unknown Kipkemoi Kiprono (Kenya) was third home in 1:01:10.
Attention then turned to local man Griffiths who ran an incredible new personal best of 1:01:33 finishing fourth to becomme the second fastest Welsh Athlete of all time and the joint 12th fastest British Athlete. Griffiths now currently sits third fastest British athlete of 2017, an accolade he adds to his first place ranking in the 2017 10km lists.
Hiskel Tewelde (Eritrea), Eliud Kiptanui (Kenya), Josphat Bett (Kenya), Masaya Taguchi (Japan), Elias Kemboi (Kenya) and Moussab Hadout (Morocco) cleared out the top 10 in that order.
After Griffiths it was Charlie Hulson (Sale Harriers) who became the Welsh Championship Silver medalist on his debut over the distance. Josh Griffiths took Bronze two months after starring att the IAAF World Championships Marathon in London.
Elite Athlete Manager, Alex Donald commented saying; ''We were delighted to put together our strongest fields yet. Our UK all-comers record saw Edith Chelimo become the sixth fastest athlete of all time for half marathon and that puts our event on the world map''.
He added: ''Dewi's performance was truly amazing and for him to perform that way at our race, on Welsh soil, makes it even more special. He took some great scalps including Eliud Kiptanui and a Commonwealth Games 10,000m Silver medalist, Josphat Bett''.
Leaders at the start of the Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon
Aerial view of the start
Race winner John Lotiang followed by Shadrack Kimining
Eliud Kiptanui leads Dewi Griffiths in Cardiff Bay
Hiskel Tewelde, John Lotiang and Kipkemoi Kiprono